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Written Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) for Grandparent Childcare Givers

Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Manpower if the Ministry will consider extending the Workfare Income Supplement to grandparent caregivers who help look after their grandchildren and hence reducing the need for childcare services or help by foreign domestic workers (FDWs).

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

It is very encouraging that many older Singaporeans care for their grandchildren while their parents are away at work. This is a reflection of our strong family ties, and is also a good way for older Singaporeans to keep active. Measures like the Grandparent Caregiver Relief, which is a $3,000 tax relief, given to working mothers, provide recognition for grandparents who play the role of caregiver and help the mothers take care of their children.

The objective of the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme is different. WIS was designed to supplement the incomes and CPF savings of lower-income Singaporeans, and to encourage them to enter and remain in the labour market.

Allowances received for carrying out family support roles such as babysitting and care-giving for dependents are considered transfers within the family. They are not external sources of income derived from employment, and hence it would not be appropriate to consider these transfers for WIS.